Mike Lowell can thank Scott Rolen for getting hurt, thus gifting the former with a nice memento from his worst season to date.
P – Greg Maddux, Chicago
C – Mike Matheny, San Francisco
1B – Derrek Lee, Chicago
2B – Luis Castillo, Florida
SS – Omar Vizquel, San Francisco
3B – Mike Lowell, Florida
OF – Andruw Jones, Atlanta
OF – Jim Edmonds, St. Louis
OF – Bobby Abreu, Philadelphia
The Mariners have exercised their $6.25 million option on reliever Eddie Guardado.
Guardado, for his part, will do little if any exercise over the winter, but will still have a better season than whoever the Mets add to their bullpen.
Will Leitch on his Heyman-approved website :
Yesterday, Jayson Whitlock wrote a column for Page 2 that brought up an interesting, if seriously arguable, point: When Tyrone Willingham got off to such a great start at Notre Dame, he still struggled with his job security; when Charlie Weis did the same, they gave him a 10-year contract extension. Certainly a thesis worthy of discussion, at least.
Yeah, shame nobody thought to make that point 5 days ago.
That AL East Championship is really tainted, now.
(thanks to Maura Johnston for the tip, though I still think they should test Bubba Crosby again — some of those grounders he hit in batting practice were ferocious).
From the LA Times’ Mike DiGiovanna.
Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman’s expected exploration of a bid for Boston slugger Manny Ramirez could get complicated.
According to baseball sources, trade talks probably will expand to include the Arizona Diamondbacks, who could send third baseman Troy Glaus to the Red Sox in a three-way deal. In exchange for Ramirez, the Angels could send first baseman Darin Erstad and a prospect or two to Boston and additional players and prospects to Arizona.
From the Associted Press :
Former Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli rejoined the New York Yankees on Wednesday as Joe Torre’s bench coach.
Mazzilli (above) was the Yankees’ first base and outfield coach from 2000-03, then was manager of the Orioles until he was fired Aug. 4
“Lee was certainly qualified for this position before he had been a major league manager and he’s only that much more capable now,” Joe Torre said in a statement.
Lest we presume that some of the powerplays taking place in Boston and Los Angeles smack of subterfuge and self-interest, the Houston Chronicle’s Jose De Jesus Ortiz nominates former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker as the sneak du jour.
During the World Series, quite a few highly respected national baseball writers wondered why former Astros general manager Gerry Hunsicker (above, left) wasn’t getting enough credit for building the National League champions.
They wrote about how Hunsicker signed Andy Pettitte, lured Roger Clemens out of retirement and convinced Brad Lidge to throw a slider. All were wrong.
I’m not saying Hunsicker lied to some of my good friends. But as one Astros official put it recently, somebody misled through omission of the facts.
When it was time to close the deal on Pettitte, Hunsicker already had been taken off the assignment by owner Drayton McLane. McLane was the one who drove to the offices of Houston agents Randy and Alan Hendricks and put the final touches on the deal because, well, Hunsicker already had gone as far as the Hendrickses would let him.
The best thing Hunsicker did in the Clemens negotiations was keep his mouth shut, get out of McLane’s way and hope the Hendricks brothers still weren’t too mad at him for ripping them half a decade earlier when McLane and the Hendrickses were trying to get Clemens to Houston.
Clemens signed with the Astros because of McLane’s lobbying. You and any other fan had more to do in convincing the greatest pitcher of our era to sign with the Astros than Hunsicker did.
Some baseball officials have asked why Hunsicker has been bad-mouthed as a self-promoter with a tendency to throw his team owner under the bus. He always found ways to take credit when credit belonged elsewhere.
Now as Hunsicker tries to land another job, he must wonder what kind of recommendation he’s getting from his former employer. How would you like to be the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, wondering if the GM you hire will turn on you and rip you behind your back?
That’s the rumor going on in baseball circles these days. How else can you explain such a successful GM lasting this long without another job when quite a few already have been up for grabs this offseason?
The start of the 2005-06 NBA campaign means it is time for yet another semi-annual editorial suggesting that Darko Milicic isn’t a complete bust. Though a comparison to Shawn Bradley might make you redefine “bust”. From the Detroit Free Press’ Drew Sharp.
The name Milicic isn’t necessarily Serbian for “mistake.”
Even though Darko Milicic has done little in two seasons with the Pistons, other NBA teams have made inquiries about his availability. They gauged the temperature of his discontent last season and during the summer, and the hotter it got, the more calls to Joe Dumars, the Pistons’ president of basketball operations.
“There’s been a tremendous amount of interest in Darko throughout the league,” Dumars said.
It isn’t outlandish to suggest that some teams still would have taken the enigma with the second pick in the 2003 draft, even with the foresight that Dwyane Wade would emerge as a game-changing star at Miami.
At least one Western Conference executive thinks so, all because of Darko’s upside.
When looking for comparisons to Milicic, the name Raef LaFrentz frequently comes up. LaFrentz was the third overall pick in 1998, and he is regarded as a steady, solid player, averaging 11.8 points and 6.9 rebounds for his career.
And that’s probably the best career scenario for Milicic — solid and steady.
He made an impression as a shot-blocker in the just-completed exhibition season. Perhaps that makes Darko the second coming of Shawn Bradley, drafted second overall in 1993. And Bradley’s career can be defined as pedestrian at best.
A very concerned Kevin T. describes the passage below as “the two weirdest sentences I’ve ever read in Time Magazine”.
“Indeed, his only eccentricity, if it can be called that, is his extensive private library of adult videos. His refreshing ability to laugh self-deprecatingly about his porno collection, reporters say, is one reason why fans and even nonfans have taken to him so much. “
The NY Post’s Mark Hale reports that the Mets have been in contact with Billy Wagner’s agent, who claims his client “is definetley intrigued by the Mets” (which is a polite way of saying he’ll pitch for the Martians if the price is right).
Newsday’s David Lennon writes that Trevor Hoffman (hold on to your toilet seat) is also a possible addition.
Hoffman (above), who turned 38 last month, reportedly is seeking a three-year deal worth between $25 million and $27 million. Last week, the Padres offered two years for $10 million, and that may prompt Hoffman to try the open market.
“Trevor’s first choice has always been to remain a Padre. But it’s looking more and more like it won’t happen,” Rick Thurman, Hoffman’s agent, told The Associated Press. “Put it this way: Their offer made Trevor upset enough to have his locker cleaned out at the stadium.”
But it may take more than that for Hoffman to uproot his family from San Diego, where he has pitched since 1993, and the Mets, nearly 3,000 miles away on the other coast, would be a long shot. Not that he doesn’t fit their needs. Hoffman had 43 saves last season, with a 2.97 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings.
Given the risk inherent in making a $27 million investment in a 38 year old pitcher with one massive surgery/rehab already on his resume (one whom the Mariners are also interested in), I’m surprised New York seems completely opposed to Aaron Heilman as closer. Nor are we reading much about a pursuit of Eddie Guardado, though that could change.
From the Associated Press :
Five Muslim football fans were detained and questioned during a New York Giants-New Orleans Saints game because they were congregating near the main air intake duct for Giants Stadium, not because they were praying, an FBI spokesman told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Several of the fans were expected to detail their experience from the Sept. 19 game at an afternoon news conference in Manhattan. One of the men, along with his lawyer, said Tuesday the five were unfairly profiled and detained because they had been praying at the stadium, as their Muslim faith requires five times a day.
But Special Agent Steven Siegel told The Associated Press that the men aroused suspicion because they were congregating near the main air intake duct for the stadium. Former President Bush was on hand that night as part of a fundraising campaign he and former President Clinton were leading for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
“You had 80,000 people there, Bush 41 was there, and you had a group of gentlemen gathering in an area not normally used by the public right near the main air intake duct for the stadium, and a food preparation facility,” Siegel said. “It was where they were, not what they were doing.”
One of the men, who asked not to be identified because he said he fears harassment from the incident, said he and the other four had no idea they were near an air intake.
“I don’t even know what an air duct looks like,” he said. “To me, it was just a wall.”
Jay Strell calls our attention to MLB’s efforts to peddle the Ozzieball shirt (above) to the nation’s youth. The sales pitch reads “support your favorite White Sox team manager by wearing this Ozzieball t-shirt from Majestic Athletic.”
That’s all very well and good, but what if your son or daughter’s favorite White Sox skipper is Jeff Torborg? What then?
Seems strange to me that in these highly politicized times, some t-shirts are worthy of mass boycotts and others raise nary an eyebrow.
Without the rings, that is.
From the Associated Press :
- Alex Rodriguez was cautioned by the New York Yankees that playing poker in illegal clubs could be dangerous and harmful to his image, according to a newspaper report.
Early last month, the Daily News reported the star slugger had attended games at an underground club with professional card player Phil Hellmuth.
Scott Boras, the third baseman’s agent, denied that the Yankees had warned his client.
“The Yankees have never addressed or spoken with me in regard to any off-field activities regarding Alex Rodriguez. And the Yankees have never spoken to Alex regarding any of his off-field activities,” Boras was quoted as saying in a story published Wednesday.
Art Schlichter, Pete Rose and Gabe Kaplan were unavailable for comment. Or perhaps no one called them.
From the Newark Star Ledger’s Joe Tyrell.
Former Nets star Jayson Williams has sold his sprawling Alexandria Township estate where he fatally shot a limousine driver three years ago for $8 million, a record for a single-family home in Hunterdon County.
John Lionetti of Colts Neck, owner of Lorca Petroleum Services in Elizabeth, obtained a $2 million mortgage last month from Williams and his wife, Tanya, to ease the purchase. Williams signed the paperwork on behalf of himself and his Wexford Properties on Oct. 13 in Beaufort County, S.C., where he and his wife own a home in Hilton Head.
Williams’ spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on the sale of the 27,000-square-foot estate, which was built in 1997 for $3 million by Williams and his contractor father,
The basketball star christened the rolling 65-acre property “Who Knew?” a reference to his rise from humble roots in a biracial family in New York City.
I’ve had a little bit of experience in selling property, both in this country and in the UK, so I can pass along a little tip that our Century 21 agent shared with us ; hiring Dwayne Schintzius to dig up any dogs he’s buried on the property can add millions to a home’s value.
Bucks 117, 76ers 108 (OT)
Though it was the aformentioned Bucks SG who sent this one to overtime with a spectacular game-tying 3 pointer with 0:016 remaining, Milwaukee’s mythical game ball has to go to T.J. Ford. The former Texas point guard (above, left), in his first game since suffering a spinal cord injury in ’03, had a near triple double (16 points, 14 assists, 9 boards) and looked the part of an All-Star running the Bucks’ offense.
Andrew Bogut, late 4th quarter blown alley-oop aside, didn’t have a poor debut, either (13 points, 3 blocks, 9 rebounds).
Sadly for Philly, opening night showcased a typical Allen Iverson performance; 35 points on 28 shots from the floor, and far too many occasions where his teammates stood around watching him launch something from long range. That many of said shots go in is besides the point — far too often, the Sixers are reduced to a one or two man show (and in fairness, A.I. set up Chris Webber nicely on multiple occasions). Whether or not voyerism when they’ve got the ball leads to indifference defensively, I can’t say for sure, but the Sixers shouldn’t be blowing a last minute lead at home.
If I’d been able to take advantage of the Goner Bulletin Board during my bachelor days…..I’d have gotten as much action as AC Green.
Possibly less. (the former link courtesy Kevin T., who needs no such advice).
Tony Jackson of the LA Daily News was just on Boston’s WEEI and stated (take this for what it is worth) that the chances of Theo Epstein being named the new LA GM by the end of the week were better than 50/50.
Presumably, Epstein would not be Tommy Lasorda’s first, second or third choice. Given everything we’ve seen going down in Chavez Ravine over the past year, it is equally hard to understand why said position would appeal to Epstein.
Having no inside information of my own, I can only wonder why it is so hard to believe that Epstein might in fact, spend 12 months or more outside of baseball. Is it also completely impossible to envision a scenario in which Epstein returns to Fenway?
The Sporting News’ Ken Rosenthal is reporting that former Seattle/Toronto/Baltimore GM Pat Gillick has taken himself out of consideration for the Los Angeles vacancy.
Gillick, 68, is on the verge of getting the Phillies’ job over former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker, who is the frontrunner to be the senior consultant the Devil Rays are seeking.
The Dodgers had targeted Gillick as a possible replacement for Paul DePodesta, whom they fired Saturday. Their next step could be to pursue Theo Epstein, who resigned as Red Sox GM Monday. Nationals GM Jim Bowden is interested in the Dodgers’ opening, and Padres GM Kevin Towers might be as well.
Another possibility would be Bobby Valentine, who likely would require both manager and GM responsibilities to leave the Chibe Lotte Marines, the team he recently led to the Japan Series title. Valentine is earning more than $3 million per year as a manager in Japan and could be offered an even more lucrative extension soon.
Now playing : The Sick Things – “Committed To Suicide”
From the Whittier Daily News’ Scott Wolf.
USC tailback LenDale White quit the football team and shouted profanities from the roof of a nearby building Monday night before fighting with a staff member.
At least that was the joke at the conclusion of Monday’s practice, as a dummy of White (above) got thrown off the roof and became involved in a scuffle with football equipment coordinator Tino Dominguez.
It was a Halloween joke pre-planned by USC coach Pete Carroll and reminiscent of a 2001 incident, when Dominguez threw a “spy” off the roof of an adjacent building the week of the UCLA game.
This prank was far more elaborate, as White left midway through practice and said he quit the team. Several assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, were unaware of the gag and Kiffin yelled at White as he left the field.
“(Kiffin) said, `Get your butt off the field,’ and I said, `I’ll walk when I feel like walking,”‘ White said.
“Carroll said, `Hey, 21, what are you complaining about?’ and I said, `I don’t get enough carries.”‘
White left the field in a cart and threw his gloves into the bushes in disgust, then reappeared about 20 minutes later as Carroll addressed the team.
“I was telling them we can’t let distractions get in our way,” Carroll said. “That we’ve lost guys before. We’ve won with them and without them.”
Some members of the team actually believed White got thrown from the roof.
“That was horrible,” linebacker Oscar Lua said. “What was that about? I think (linebacker) Rey (Maualuga) is still on the field dead.”
Carroll first wanted tailback Reggie Bush to play the part.
“I said, `Hell no’,” Bush said. “Besides, LenDale is more believable.”
P – Kenny Rogers, Texas
C – Jason Varitek, Boston
1B – Mark Teixeira, Texas
2B – Orlando Hudson, Toronto
3B – Eric Chavez, Oakland
SS – Derek Jeter, New York (cue up sound affects of a major coughing fit)
OF – Torri Hunter, Minnesota
OF – Vernon Wells, Toronto
OF – Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle
World-class Lt. Dangle-baiter TJ Simers of the LA Times kicks it into overdrive today when listening to Tommy Lasorda’s bullshit.
It’s one thing to tell folks they have a better shot of getting into heaven rooting for the Dodgers, quite another to proclaim McCourt the savior.
“I love the guy,” Lasorda said, “and you can believe me as sure as I am sitting here and talking to you right now.”
“You keep talking like that,” I said, “and if McCourt continues to flounder, he could very well take your legacy down with him. No doubt Dodger fans want to hear Lasorda talking about better days ahead, but are you sure they want you promising McCourt will be the one who is going to deliver them?”
“I agree with everything he’s done,” Lasorda said. “Einstein once said an ounce of loyalty is worth more than a pound of knowledge.”
That would explain why he’s ignoring the facts.
“Hey, I believe the majority of Dodger fans think the same way as I do,” Lasorda said. “They believe he’s doing something to help this organization be successful.”
I said something about his being out to lunch, and as soon as I mentioned lunch Lasorda seemed to perk up. But I wanted to know whether he was supporting McCourt now because McCourt put him back on top of the Dodger mountain.
“Exactly,” he admitted. “I was hurt, and [respect] is what Frank gave me, and why I love the man.”
It’s a hard sell, though, telling fans McCourt is on the ball when evidence suggests otherwise. But I commended Lasorda on delivering his blarney with such passion, and he appeared surprised.
“I’m sincere,” he said. “Hook me to a lie detector. I’ll bet my lungs I’m telling the truth. I love Frank and Jamie McCourt. Set up a lie detector, and when I pass, you apologize to them for challenging my loyalty and love for them.”
I said I’d find a polygraph, and ask about pitching to Jack Clark and trading Paul Konerko. And if I do have to apologize, I’ll give the McCourts a call, and never get a return call.
“You’re really something,” Lasorda huffed. “I read those letters in the paper about you, and it’s not love. You know what, I might be the only friend you have.”
Congratulations to the Houston Chronicle’s John Lopez for raising a point all too similar to one made in this forum countless times : that perhaps the Houston Astros would be better off if Roger Clemens’ $18 million salary was applied towards a position player or 3 or 4 in 2006.
Flagrant Foul-machine Danny Fortson (shown above, being groped by men), as quoted by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Jim Moore.
WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes admits she’s gay. And yesterday Fortson said he would have a problem with a gay teammate.
“I sure would,” Fortson said. “I wouldn’t want to be on that team. It wouldn’t be a good idea.
“As athletes, we still have a grade-school mentality where we pick on people a little bit. It’s not going to work with us. I don’t think it’s very acceptable behavior for men as far as I’m concerned.”
Fortson also said “he wouldn’t doubt it” if there were a gay player in the NBA but hopes he’s not a Sonic.
“That would be a bad deal,” Fortson said. “He might want to keep that one in the closet.”
From the Canadian Press :
Pavel Bure was named general manager of Russia’s Olympic hockey team Tuesday after announcing his retirement as a player.
The Russian Rocket, felled by serious knee injuries, announced his decision at a news conference in Moscow. Alexander Steblin, the head of the Russian Hockey Federation, announced that Bure would assemble the team headed to February’s Turin Olympics.
“I can promise you one thing, from now on you won’t see such a mess with the national team that you’ve seen here before,” Bure told reporters.
“You won’t see grouchy players here anymore. Only those who really want to play for Russia will be called into the team.”